The first trailer for Netflix’s American adaptation of Death Note has finally been released online. Originally a manga written by Tsugumi Ohba in 2003, the series focuses on Light Yagami who happens across a Death Note. Though it appears to be an ordinary looking notebook or journal, the Death Note grants the owner the power to kill people by writing their name in its pages. While there are several rules within the Death Note that must be abided by, the owner can ultimately use it at their own discretion. For Light, he takes on the persona of Kira, his murderous alias who kills criminals and anyone else who stands in his way.
The trailer doesn’t reveal much, but it certainly sets the tone that is to be expected. The shot of people jumping off a building is appropriately chilling, and the silhouette of Ryuk is appropriately goose bump inducing . For those unfamiliar with the character, Ryuk is a Shinigami, which is basically a type of grim reaper in Japanese mythology, and acts as an impartial observer to the current owner of a Death Note. The trailer also features some Seattle, WA landmarks, which could serve as refreshing locale for the adaptation.
The series is being directed by Adam Wingard (The Guest, Blair Witch) and stars Nat Wolf as Light, Margarett Qualley as Mia, the love interest and ally of Light, and Lakeith Stanfield as L, the master detective who does everything he can to end’s Kira’s rampage. William Defoe also stars as the voice of Ryuk.
Remakes often get a lot of flack, but this is truly one of the series that has so much room to expand.With the original series incorporating so much from Japanese and other Eastern mythologies, a lot can be lost in direct English translations of the source material. Additionally, having watched the series, I noticed that the English voice work did not always match the English subtitles. This left me wondering if the two English versions did not match, how different is the original Japanese dialogue? With the translation issue out of the way, this adaptation can hopefully provide a greater sense of focus and clarity for viewers unfamiliar with the material.
The translations aside, the premise alone is so bone chilling, and it begs to be adapted every few years. The characters are iconic and certainly can translate to different countries and cultures. There are quite a few scenes in the original series that really heighten the cat and mouse game of Light vs. L. However, I would have no problem if this iteration drops all of them completely in lieu of something truly unique. In a time where anti-heroes and villainous protagonists are a genre within themselves, now is the perfect time for this series. If Netflix’s Death Note can make me root for and against a sadistic character like Light, then it has a great chance for success.
Death Note arrives on Netflix, August 25, 2017. I may just watch it on my phone, which will be inside a potato chip bag, and then, nonchalantly, I will take a potato chip…and eat it!